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Coal scam case: Gondwana Ispat Ltd director convicted, taken into custody


New Delhi, CBI Special Judge Bharat Parashar on Friday held guilty Gondwana Ispat Ltd and its Director for cheating and criminal conspiracy under the provisions of Indian Penal Code.The case involved a coal block allocation in Maharashtra. Central Bureau Of Investigation contended that on April 22, 2000, Ashok Daga applied to Ministry of Coal for allotment of the Ekarjuna Extension coal block in Maharashtra to set up a washery-cum-sponge iron plant of 60,000 tonne per year capacity in Warora area but it was rejected. On September 25, 2001, Daga applied for allotment of Warora West coal block in Maharashtra to set up a 1.2 lakh tonne per annum washery-cum-sponge iron plant. In continuation of its earlier application, M/s GIL requested MoC to consider allotment of Majra Belgaon coal blocks having extractable reserve of 8 to 10 million tonnes as an alternate to the Warora North coal block. In the 18th Screening Committee meeting held on May 5, 2003, MoC considered the application of M/s GIL and Chandrapur Ispat Ltd for allocation of Majra Belgaon coal block. CBI submitted that it was found that though after allocation of the coal block in 2003, Daga had filed an undertaking to MoC that he would install a plant or carry out its extension and develop the coal mine, in October 2005, he sold off the company to Nand Kishore Sarda, in the process accruing huge profit. Based, the CBI contended, on the documents and representation submitted by the company, the ministry on October 29, 2003, reserved Majra block for M/s GIL subject to certain conditions regarding its development and specific end use of coal extracted from there. CBI said that it was found during the probe that Daga had made 'unsubstantiated claim even towards financial preparedness and tie up regarding iron ore with Odisha Government.' The agency submitted that as the MoC then was not following any system to check the veracity of information provided by an applicant company, M/S GIL and Daga in furtherance of a criminal conspiracy misrepresented to various government authorities and induced them to reserve or allocate the Majra Coal block in its favour. The Special Court adjudged the firm and its Director guilty of misrepresentation of facts to get the Majra coal block in Maharashtra allocated to it. The Judge convicted Daga and the firm under sections 120B (criminal conspiracy) and 420 (cheating) and also for the substantive offence under section 420 of the IPC. The court further directed that Ashok Daga, the director of the firm, be taken into custody.

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